Most dog owners consider their dogs to be members of their families. Some owners are treating their pooches as their children. Others say that dogs are “just pets”, and a kind of possession. Here’s what Michelle Liew is thinking about all that.
Ten Quirky Reasons for Owning a Pet
Having been a dog owner for the greatest part of my life, I would advise any potential owner that dog ownership has its ups and downs.
Still, the downs (eg. too much barking or excessive poop) are not enough to deter it.
Here are a few plausible, though slightly quirky, reasons to own a dog.
1. A pet is pure eye candy.
To start, dogs are feasts for the eyes. Their absolute cuteness simply makes you go "aww".
Cloudy, my little West Highland, just drew a laugh out of me this morning when she crawled into my cupboard and insisted that it was her den.
A dog's whimsical ways simply pull you to it.
2. It keeps you calm.
Besides its cute appearance, a dog keeps you calm. Looking at it alone soothes jangled nerves.
Stroking a dog releases endorphins and raises poor spirits. It also relieves stress.
3. A pet makes a good pillow.
Further, provided you do not squash it with your head, a pet is an excellent pillow.
It is comfortable to at least snuggle next to it, anyway.
4. It is fun.
Pillows aside, pets are fun, They make wonderful playmates and companions.
Would a human catch a ball with his teeth?
5. It may help you out.
And then, pets may also help you. Contrary to popular belief, they do earn their keep.
Use them as doorbells, security guards or pest exterminators.
6. It keeps you secure.
To speak of being guards, dogs make great ones. A dog is a protective creature and will defend you when necessary. It keeps you secure.
7. A pet is good entertainment.
A dog is also wonderful entertainment. It is a lively creature full of hilarious antics.
My terrier, Cloudy, enjoys competing with my Schnauzer, Misty, to see comes in first in a race. I say "bye bye" and cloudy becomes anxious to move in front of Misty.
She also enjoys picking up strange objects and offering them to me.
8. It helps you make friends.
Like all other pets, dogs help the thoroughly introverted make a few friends. There is no better place to find a few than a dog park or even a veterinary clinic with a medical ambience.
9. It is not fussy.
To add, dogs are not as selective as humans. Two dogs may quarrel one day and be great friends the next.
10. It does not ask for much.
They definitely do not ask for much. Other than a little attention or a few obedience classes, you do not have to take it for ballet sessions or choir camp.
Unless your dog is Misty, who yowls when she hears the piano.
If you have not decided to get yourself a dog, what's stopping you?
Should Owners Treat Their Dogs Like Their Children?
Should we treat our pets like our children?
My dog, Cloudy, prompted a little thought this morning as she patiently waited for me to prepare her flea dip. She had her favorite teddy bear soft toy in her mouth and bowed, asking me to take her out for a play session.
It was not the first time she behaved like a child, or showed attachment to her "parents".
Pet owners develop bonds with their dogs that others, family members included, find difficult to empathize with. There are times when I get quizzical looks for giving Cloudy a hug after she completes a run around the park.
There is a gnawing, or at least nibbling gap between pet and non-pet owners that needs addressing. Perhaps their fear of dogs came about because of a bad experience of being bitten by one. Their dislike could also stem from sheer revulsion brought on by pet owners who do not clear up after a walk in the park.
This gap always begs the question "Should we treat our dogs like our kids?"
The bond with a dog is one of implicit trust. Once formed, the dog sees you as its leader and looks to you to show it the way. As it follows you around, it shows its faith that your way is the right one. It trusts that you will not abandon or hurt it.
Their acceptance of our affection is unquestioning.
We love our dogs for the feelings of dependence that they give us. They make us feel needed. That need continues for its life.
A relationship with a dog is an innocent, uncomplicated one. It has no motives or particular reasons for its actions, and that is where its psyche stands apart from ours.
That naiveté is a real draw. Throw in unquestioning loyalty to the mix. There are times when you will come home to a spouse watching television, and he ignores you when you come through the door. It is always the dog that greets you.
You are probably assertive with a frisky dog which shows no sign of defiance or back talk.
Like all children, dogs emote, sometimes better than we do. They respond to your feelings of happiness, sorrow or anger. They understand tension, oftentimes better than humans can.
Treating dogs like children is a given, considering these very understandable reasons. Owners have to do it with the feelings of those who prefer not to own one in mind.
This means that pet owners need to take trouble to clean up after their pets, as much as non-owners should try to empathize and accommodate.
It also means that owners have to train dogs to heel and not jump up at passersby. They have to rein themselves in around other dogs.
With everyone in mind, dogs are like children.
Showing Compassion for Dogs
I rescued my frisky Jack Russell Terrier, who passed away from lymphoma two years ago, from the Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Singapore.
Disciplining this dominant little fellow was a challenge. He constantly jumped on my sofa and fell asleep on its handles. A noisy boy, he served as a doorbell which "rang" whenever someone passed the front door of my apartment.
Still, I never regretted showing him compassion or giving him a home. He enriched our lives for 13 years.
Before this turns into an emotional tale, I must state that showing compassion to animals does not mean giving them lots of cuddles, though their high level of cuteness makes me do it every day. They need more constructive forms of compassion instead.
To start, we should not throw litter haphazardly on the pavements in our parks. It is not only harmful to the environment, but also unkind to animals. Sweets always tempt us. Little dogs, too, find them tantalizing. But they are also dangerous, because dogs easily ingest them.
Further, not all "human" food is pet-friendly. Pets cannot take in delectable treats like macadamia nuts or chocolate, which has theobromine that would kill a dog within minutes.
Many people already feed strays on the streets, but this is not the best way to help them because the food, left behind with good intentions, attracts rats. The best way to show compassion to a stray dog is to contact a no-kill shelter or better yet, volunteer at one.
You are compassionate to a dog if you introduce a little hygiene. Groom and bathe dogs regularly, more often if they have active lifestyles.
Show compassion to a little dog by not leaving it alone for too long.. I just passed a shop house where a little puppy lives. I remember its whines, because it was left alone in the dark, at night, for what must have been a few hours. Leaving a light on to help it deal with its separation anxiety would have been more assuring.
Never chain them in the sun either. Controlling a feisty dog by leashing it and leaving it alone outdoors is tempting. But finding it a restricted spot indoors is a far better alternative. In the hotter months, brachycephalic breeds like bulldogs and shih thus may suffer from heat stroke. They have elongated palates and short noses, making it more difficult for air to pass through their nasal passages.It causes them to heat up quickly.
Of course, the best way to show compassion for a little dog is to do it even before you take it home. Buy it from a responsible breeder instead of a puppy mill, which often house hundreds of puppies in confined conditions. Many of them become injured.
Showing compassion for a little dog does not take emotional dramatics, but a few common sense practices.
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About the Author
By Michelle Liew
I am into pets and have a webshop on pet care and pet supplies! I also love writing and am looking into it as a source of marketing for my new store. I also love literature, music and reading.